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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 09-16-2007, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Growing Organic Bananas

I was just wondering if any of you grow Organically?

What type of fertilizers do you use and are there any
pests or bugs that are particular to Banana plants?
Or even ones that will harm my Bananas.

The food I do grow for myself is all pesticide free and
I only use natural fertilizers. But I have never grown
a banana plant before and looking for advice from
other Organic growers.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

I only grow organically. You can check my photo gallery for pictures of the various bananas I grow.

When planting I mix in steer or chicken manure, green sand, sul po mag, worm castings, EB Stone organic plant food, and lots of compost. I keep my beds amended with steer manure, compost, sul po mag, and organic plant food. I have never had any issues with bad insects or disease. For potted plants I feed them a steer manure/compost tea with organic plant food mixed in.

Nothing on my property receives any chemical foods or pesticides, not even the grass! I have two dogs and don't want them getting sick from any nasty chemicals or weed killers.
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Old 09-16-2007, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas


Very lovely plants you have there!

And thanks for the information...though i am not sure what
sul po mag is. You all have been so helpful already, it still
amazes me that a whole forum can be dedicated to bananas!

Not that they arent special, because they are gorgeous!
I just never would have thought!
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Old 09-16-2007, 05:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Sul-Po-Mag (0-0-22)

Sul-Po-Mag also known as K-Mag NATURAL is the commercial name for the mineral otherwise known as sulfate of potash-magnesia (langbeinite). Contains 22% soluble potash, 22% sulfur and 11% magnesium. A quick release source of potassium, Sul-Po-Mag also makes a good addition to soils that lack sulfur. Broadcast 5-10 lbs. Sul-Po-Mag per 1,000 sq. ft.


Now you know!
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Thanks for clearing that up. I was thinking Sul-Po-Mag was some kind of exotic Asian gardening ingredient that would only be available in L.A. or some other big cities. Is it a one time thing or do you apply it regularly ?
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

I'm not sure how often it should be applied but I usually do it twice a year along with the other organic stuff. I sometimes will apply manure 3-4 times a year and compost when it looks like the soil in need of some help. I don't come back with worm castings because I have tons of red wigglers in the soil doing it for me!
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Quote:
Originally Posted by momoese View Post
I only grow organically. You can check my photo gallery for pictures of the various bananas I grow.

When planting I mix in steer or chicken manure, green sand, sul po mag, worm castings, EB Stone organic plant food, and lots of compost. I keep my beds amended with steer manure, compost, sul po mag, and organic plant food. I have never had any issues with bad insects or disease. For potted plants I feed them a steer manure/compost tea with organic plant food mixed in.

Nothing on my property receives any chemical foods or pesticides, not even the grass! I have two dogs and don't want them getting sick from any nasty chemicals or weed killers.

Wow, sounds like anything should grow well in that soil! I wish there was a local source for organic supplies in my area, I would exclusively use organics on my bananas if there were. I've been purchasing the ones I do get, through mail order, and the shipping rates are outrageous.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Quote:
Originally Posted by NANAMAN View Post
Wow, sounds like anything should grow well in that soil! I wish there was a local source for organic supplies in my area, I would exclusively use organics on my bananas if there were. I've been purchasing the ones I do get, through mail order, and the shipping rates are outrageous.
I'm sure you can find compost and manure nearby right? Is it the other things you have mail-ordered?
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Yea, it's mostly soil amendments like( Azomite, K-Mag, crab shell meal, etc..). But, I have no truck, and have found no one who delivers any manure or compost. Plenty of places want to sell me top soil or mulch, but nothing any good.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Ok, so I'm really showing my ignorance here:

I was told bananas were heavy feeders, so they should be fed with something akin to Miracle Grow every 2 weeks -- plus some Osmocote when first planting out in the spring. I would love to go organic, but don't really know anything about amending soil except for my adding sand & bone meal to my garden soil a few years ago to break up the clay. I just dug up the packed soil, added the stuff, and then turned it all over to mix it in.

It sounds like you amend your soil before planting with the organic items you listed. But, would anyone be kind enough to explain to me how to do that here in my area where I plant in late spring & bring in for winter ... do I dig up the entire bed (again, we're clay soil here) and amend with those items before planting ... and/or how do you keep them fed thru the year instead of MG every 2 wks.?

Thanks in advance for any advice,
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Hi Andrea, we have 2 pages in the WIKI wich are interesting to read.

http://www.bananas.org/wiki/Info:Soil

http://www.bananas.org/wiki/Info:Fertilizer



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Old 09-17-2007, 09:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Annie , I had very sand soil in my French garden , I found the best way to improve the soil was to let the Worms and Bacteria do the job. I top mulched with horse manure about three times a year. Top feeding I find best for the plant . It took about two years to get great soil , I do use some high nitrogen lawn fertilizer to help the cellulose material in the mulch break down, I also top dress with Bark Mulch to keep the garden looking good.
Later
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:26 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

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Originally Posted by Annie6078 View Post
how do you keep them fed thru the year instead of MG every 2 wks.?
I just don't see the need for that kind of feeding regimen. My plants do great with what I give them. As I explained in my previous post, they get fed through out the year organically. I have also noticed that they have really strong root systems and don't blow over in heavy winds. They might grow faster and have more fruit if I fed them MG, but then they wouldn't be organic and that's really what I'm after is organic food and being a good care taker of this little piece of earth I have to grow on.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Thank you all Mitchel, Steve & Ron ... your time is MUCH appreciated.

Whew! There is certainly a lot to learn about organic gardening! I know my mother used to be heavily into that when I was a little girl in the 60s -- I even remember seeing issues of Organic Gardening magazine & their books on our shelves, but she had a severe stroke at 39 (when I was 8) which ended her gardening career, so I was sadly never able to learn from her experience.

We grew up with my grandma & great aunt into holistic medicine & Mom her organic gardening -- and I truly prefer holistic/organic whenever possible 0 I agree with wanting to be a good steward of the earth we have. However, I find that working FT & taking care of mom has sadly left me next to no time for researching how to compost & garden organically.

Boy, this thread makes me reminisce: I remember Mom always prattling on about manure & her compost & how she used to take us along to a place where she shoveled her own manure for free. Man, we HATED it because it was near an incinerator & the smell around there was so horrible that the swings we played on nearby weren't enough to distract us from the stench -- wish I'd understood then how valuable it would have been to learn at her side tho.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

I myself only grow organically, so I thought I would add something. You might want to be careful with the cow and steer manure, because recent reports have indicated that the hormones that are fed to them leech into their feces, which in turn can be taken up by the plant. Of course if you happen to know a farmer that does it naturally, there is nothing to worry about. For myself, I will go with worm castings, guano and some types of chicken manure, which has the highest amount of nitrogen found in manure. Also, steer manure is high in salts, so if you apply too much, you might end up having a problem with nutrient lockup, and uptake. Having said that, I noticed with other fruit, that adding a good soil remineralizer like either azomite, or kelp meal, really improves the flavor of the fruit. Not to mention that the plant itself is much stronger, and more vigorous.

Last edited by Bamboo Conne'iseur : 09-17-2007 at 08:42 PM. Reason: small error
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Thanks Aaron, the manure I use is labeled as organic but i'll look into that and adjust accordingly!
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

Great thread! I'm debating on what I can feed my bananas organically. I have plenty of compost on hand. I have fish emulsion, but it's low in potasium. I also have worm castings, Bat guano and some organic lawn fertilizer (8-2-4).
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

I sometime use an organic fertilizer from a company called Medina. They sell it at Lowe's. It is a dry fertilizer and it stinks up the yard for a day or two but then the smell goes away. It is primarily chicken manure, I believe. It contains some micronutrients as well.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:12 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Thanks, Brent, I've heard of Medina before. I'll have to go to Lowe's tommorow.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:26 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Organic Bananas

This is a side shot of my tropical bed. Pure organic soil. Local compost made mainly of leaves and grass. I've had great luck with it and it's free!! It's great in the summer. It holds so much moisture that watering when it gets hot is not much of a problem.
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